Iran promises financial aid to newspapers amid social distancing plan
Iranian newspapers and printing will remain closed until April 8 due to social distancing plan, Press Deputy in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran Mohammad Khodadadi told Trend.
He added that during this time, the unemployment of journalists would increase.
"The social distancing plan is to prevent the coronavirus spread, so the print media is closed until April 8, but they can continue working online, and get government support," he said.
Khodadadi said the printing media would receive insurance support and extension on tax payments as well.
"This issue is being reviewed. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has followed up on to put journalists and press on the priority list for government support," he said.
"The media is the frontline for fighting the coronavirus, although newspapers will not be published, but their press activities will continue, so therefore the social distancing regulation of the National Headquarters to Fight Coronavirus does not mean that the media will just shut down," he added.
"Closure of newspapers is only for a week while many businesses will be closed for a month. The media remains active online. Subsidies will be provided alongside compensation," he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. Some sources claim the coronavirus outbreak started as early as November 2019.
Iran is one of the countries heavily affected by the rapidly-spreading coronavirus. According to recent reports from the Iranian officials, over 44,600 people have been infected, 2,898 people have already died. Meanwhile, over 14,600 have reportedly recovered from the disease.
The country continues to apply strict measures to contain the further spread. Reportedly, the disease was brought to Iran by a businessman from Iran's Qom city, who went on a business trip to China, despite official warnings. The man died later from the disease.
The Islamic Republic only announced its first infections and deaths from the coronavirus on Feb. 19.